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Charles Sumner Bunn at the 1906 National Sportsmen's Show

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

This is a photo of Charles Sumner Bunn selling his decoys at the 1906 National Sportsmen's Show held at Madison Square Garden. He can be seen right behind the stack of decoys found within the fenced area in the foreground.

Bunn (1865-1952) was a Shinnecock decoy carver, producing thousands of pieces over his carving career. His production included shore birds as well as water birds, and he was known for taking part in guided hunting and boating parties. Charles was the brother of prestigious Shinnecock golfer Oscar Bunn, as well as the great-great-uncle of David Bunn Martine.

In 1983, the Suffolk County Archaeological Association's first discussion of Bunn was written by Roberg S. Gerard Jr., which includes an early 1950's photo of Bunn carving a decoy while posing in a suit.

In the 'Letters to the Editor' section of Decoy Magazine in May/June 2004, it was discovered by Jamie Reason that a number of decoys that sold for over $400,000 in an auction were mistakenly attributed to Bill Bowman. After reviewing the research undertaken by Reason, the Shinnecock Nation Museum corrected the attribution of the decoys to Charles Bunn, with David Martine noting this correction.

Fast forward to 2015, Decoy Magazine's continuing research on Bunn reiterated how much of an accomplished artist he truly was. The appraiser Bill Mackey recognized his accomplishment as well. Charles Sumner Bunn's skill and accomplishment would have been obscured and overlooked even further if this initial discovery and ongoing research had not taken place.

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